Written answers from Justine Greening on HS2

Questions from various MPS, including the Cotswolds MP, on HS2. Written answers given on 1st May. From Hansard.

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer given to the hon. Member for Birmingham Yardley of 8 November 2010, Official Report, columns 110-11W, what the cost to the public purse was in 2011-12 to develop her Department’s High Speed Two proposals; and whether this affected the estimates for

(a) 2012-13 and

(b) 2013-14.

Justine Greening [holding answer 23 April 2012]: The cost to the public purse of developing the High Speed 2 proposals was £34.3 million in 2011-12. This includes HS2 Ltd and Department for Transport spend on the development of phases 1 and 2 of the project.

The total set out over the spending review period remains the same, but the profile of spending may change over time.

Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Chief Engineer for HS2 Ltd Professor Andrew McNaughton was outlining Government policy in his recent iRail 2012 Distinguished Lecture, Designing High Speed Rail for Britain at the Derby College Roundhouse, when he predicted (a) up to 30 trains per hour on HS2 in the future and (b) additional acceleration lines alongside those tracks already planned at the Birmingham Interchange Station to allow future HS2 trains to get up to speed before joining the main track; and if she will make a statement.

Justine Greening: Government policy on the capacity and line of route of the new high speed railway was set out in my decisions in January. For the avoidance of doubt, I expect the network to be capable of accommodating 14 trains per hour initially, rising to 18 trains per hour with the opening of the second phase of the network to Leeds and Manchester. Where intermediate stations such as Birmingham Interchange are included on the high speed route, it is necessary to include deceleration and acceleration tracks to minimise the effect of stopping trains on non-stopping services. The design for the Birmingham Interchange area has not changed since public consultation in 2011.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department plans to spend on the High Speed 2 project in 2012-13; and how much of this expenditure will be allocated to consultancy fees.

Justine Greening: The planned spend in developing High Speed 2 in 2012-13 is £167.4 million. As part of undertaking the Environmental Impact Assessment for Phase I of the route, HS2 Ltd will be procuring services from specialist firms (e.g. engineering and environmental design). The planned spend in 2012-13 in these activities, which are classified as technical consultancy, is approximately £135 million.

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the contribution of her predecessor to the Transport Committee, Oral Evidence, HC 1185, Q 554, on high speed rail, whether it remains her Department’s policy to place the High Speed 2 scheme under close scrutiny in the event that the estimated benefit to cost ratio falls below 1.5; and if she will make a statement. [106168]

Justine Greening [holding answer 30 April 2012]: Appraisal of the High Speed 2 scheme will continue to be carried out in a rigorous manner in accordance with the Department’s well-established WebTag guidance. The BCR forms only part of the decision-making process alongside the wider business case, including strategic, commercial, financial and management cases. I shall continue to scrutinise all aspects of the project carefully, as I would any scheme of this scale and importance.

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